Op-ed: There was a time when people on buses with children in prams had to faff around, put the pram down and accommodate children on knees and or seats.
Wheelchair users and public transport did not really mix.
It was an unwritten rule when seats on buses were all occupied that children stood as after all they were getting a free ride or paying a reduced fare.
But times change.
These days pensioners get a free ride on buses in England but I doubt younger people would expect them to stand because of that but you never know.
But what about wheelchair users?
Wednesday a man with disabilities, Doug Paulley, has won a Supreme Court case after a dispute over wheelchair access on a bus. A woman with a pram refused to move meaning the bus driver then refused the man entry to the bus.
Locally wheelchair users get preference over prams and rightly so in my opinion.
However in our 21st Century divided country "rules" vary around the UK.
This led to wheelchair user Doug Paulley taking legal action after he was refused entry to a FirstGroup bus in Leeds in 2012 when a mother with a pushchair refused to move for him.
Common decency is a mixed bag.
Some people play a virtual game of musical chairs on buses to help accommodate prams and wheelchairs. Others move accordingly but grumble as they do so. And some like the woman in this case just refuse to budge.
Changes which mean there is now access and space for prams and wheelchairs have been a mixed bag though on the whole a positive.
Previously bus conductors would help passengers with prams when necessary but the role of conductor was scrapped many years ago.
Putting a pram down can be an inconvenience but a wheelchair user usually has few options.
The Supreme court ruling is that the company in this case should consider further steps to persuade non-wheelchair users to move but it falls short of making it a legal duty.
Hopefully this case will lead to bus companies looking at who they prioritise. Simply passing the responsibility on to the bus driver should not be an option.
And they must surely conclude that a wheelchair user is a priority?
According to the Guardian "Disability rights campaigners have hailed a ruling by the supreme court that bus drivers must try to persuade other passengers to make room for wheelchair users. Drivers may stop the bus “with a view to pressurising or shaming recalcitrant non-wheelchair users to move” if they believe a refusal is unreasonable, the judgment declared."
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